Bert Campaneris stole five bases, one shy of the modern league record set by Eddie Collins in 1912, as the A's sped past the Twins 12-7 in a game in which Minnesota's Steve Luebber also unleashed three straight wild pitches. Oakland (4-3) stole 26 bases in all, 11 by Campaneris. If the A's maintain their galloping pace—they have stolen 100 times in 43 games—they will finish with 377 thefts. (The league record is 291, by the 1913 Senators; the major league high is 347, by the 1911 Giants.) But speed did not always pay off for the A's: they dropped a doubleheader to Chicago 3-1 and 4-3 despite 10 steals. Then, for a change, Oakland did some long-balling, bombing four home runs and trampling the White Sox 11-0 behind the six-hit pitching of Stan Bahnsen.
Texas Manager Frank Lucchesi was delighted when his hitters generated some thunder and lightning by scoring nine runs in one inning against California in a 4-2 week. When the weatherman turned on his thunder and lightning (and golf ball-sized hail), Lucchesi popped a tranquilizer. Jim Umbarger won that rain-abbreviated game 9-0, and later muffled the Twins 4-0. Lucchesi probably took more tranquilizers during the Rangers' four-game series with first-place Kansas City. The Royals (3-3) walloped three homers and won the opener 14-11 as the Rangers made seven errors. Next time out, Fred Patek, Amos Otis and Bob Stinson hit home runs as the Royals drubbed the Rangers 14-2 and moved 2� games in front of them. That was Kansas City's fourth straight win over Texas and its 18th in 22 games over two seasons. Just as Texans were beginning to think jinx, though, the Rangers won the third game 5-4 when Catcher Jim Sundberg, hitting .152 at the time, singled home Roy Howell with the bases full in the 10th inning. And then Jim Fregosi, who had hit safely only four times all season, drilled a two-run homer and drove in another run as Texas won the final game 6-4 to split the series. For the Royals, Otis hit .360 and drove in eight runs; Outfielder Tom Poquette hit .476, and handyman Stinson, moving behind the plate after Catcher Buck Martinez spiked himself, hit .450. For Texas the heavy weapons were Outfielder Tom Grieve with nine RBIs and Third Baseman Howell with four hits in one game and a .455 average.
Dan Ford tied Otis, George Hendrick and Carl Yastrzemski for the home run lead, blasting his eighth as Minnesota (2-4) toppled Oakland 6-1. Chicago (5-2) stretched its winning streak to 10 games, the longest since 1967. The White Sox beat the Angels 5-3 when Brian Downing doubled in three runs and beat California 1-0 on a single in the 11th by Bucky Dent. Clay (Hawk) Carroll had a win and two saves in relief. It all ended, though, when Bill Melton, the former White Sox third baseman, had three RBIs and the Angels (1-5) beat the Sox 5-3 as lefthander Frank Tanana, who has a 1.99 ERA for his last 73? innings, won his sixth game. Unfortunately for California, the once redoubtable Nolan Ryan remained doubtable, losing his fifth and sixth games.
KC 24-14 TEX 24-15 CHI 19-18 MINN 19-20 OAK 19-24 CAL 16-29
"Every manager should have a Sandy Alomar," said Billy Martin of New York (3-3). Twelve major league managers have had Alomar, who now sees little action with the Yankees because rookie Willie Randolph has taken over at second base. Came a game with Cleveland, and Martin sent Alomar in to pinch-run for Rick Dempsey. So he stole second and then scored the winning run in New York's 4-3 victory. Having an Oscar Gamble didn't hurt, either. It was Gamble who drove in Alomar with a pinch single. And it was Gamble who hit a three-run homer to beat the Brewers 5-2.
After Bill Travers of Milwaukee (2-4) had cooled off first-place New York 1-0 with a four-hitter, Brewer Manager Alex Grammas said, "From what I've seen of lefthanders in this league, there's Tanana and Travers, and pick anyone you want for third spot." Grammas had a point. Aside from Travers and Tanana, only five other left-handed American League starters won their games, and only two of the five—Jim Umbarger of the Rangers and Vida Blue of the A's—went the nine-inning distance.
Righthanders came on strong for Boston (4-2). Rick Wise and Luis Tiant hurled back-to-back shutouts against Detroit and Ferguson Jenkins beat Milwaukee 2-1. A man with a 1-3 record and a 6.62 ERA going into the week, Wise, who had won 19 games in 1975, needed help. Before facing the Tigers he got it from Tiant. "Show me how you grip the ball," Wise said. Tiant did, and after stopping Detroit on two hits, Wise revealed, "I used two new grips. I had my fingers down the seams, not across them." For Tiant, the shutout was the 39th of his career; for Jenkins, the win was his third in a row after a shaky start.
With Jim Palmer winless for the second straight week and lefty Mike Cuellar saddled with a 7.91 ERA, Baltimore (3-4) went to its bullpen for desperately needed pitching help. Doyle Alexander, making his second start of the season, beat Detroit 6-0, and Wayne Garland, starting his first game, stared down Fenway Park's left-field monster and beat Boston 4-1 to keep the Orioles in second place.